Oklahoma first, Hawaii last in Paradise Classic


POSTED: Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Sooners went boom.

The Rainbow Wahine went bust.





        UAB 5, LSU 3

        Oklahoma 14, Hawaii 0 (5)

Third place
        LSU 6, Hawaii 5 (9)
        Oklahoma 13, UAB 1 (5)


        P—Lindsey Croft, UAB
        P—Kirsten Allen, Oklahoma
        INF—Cameron Skates, UAB
        INF—Julianna Santos, LSU
        INF—Clare Warwick, UH
        INF—Dani Dobbs, Oklahoma
        INF—Lindsay Vandever, Oklahoma
        OF—Martina Landrum, UAB
        OF—Rachel Mitchell, LSU
        OF—Krystle Huey, Oklahoma
        At-Large—Katie Norris, Oklahoma
        Most Valuable Pitcher—D.J. Mathis, Oklahoma
        Most Valuable Player—Amber Flores, Oklahoma




Less than 48 hours after one of the biggest wins in the program's 25-year-history, the Hawaii softball team suffered two of its most deflating losses.

The Wahine were no match in their rematch with No. 6 Oklahoma, giving up 15 hits and committing six errors in being routed 14-0 in five innings in a semifinal of the Oceanic Time Warner Cable Paradise Classic. It was the worst home loss for Hawaii, eclipsing the 11-0 shutout in 1991 against Fresno State.

The Wahine followed up by falling apart late in the third-place game against No. 17 LSU. Leading 5-1, Hawaii (1-4) gave up four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning, then gave up the winning run on a bases-loaded walk in the ninth to fall 6-5 to the Tigers.

In last night's championship game at Rainbow Wahine Softball Stadium, the Sooners continued to rebound from Thursday's loss to Hawaii with their fourth straight rout. D.J. Mathis, the tournament's most valuable pitcher, picked up her third victory, combining with Allee Allen on a two-hitter in rolling past UAB in five innings.

It was the fourth consecutive run-rule-shortened contest for Oklahoma (3-1), which came up one out shy of a fourth straight shutout in downing UAB 13-1. Cameron Skates' two-out double to right off Allen in the bottom of the fifth scored Natalie Mitchell for the Blazers' lone run, the first score in 20 innings off the Sooners.

Oklahoma, outscoring its opponents 53-1 in the last four contests, heads home with the title trophy and six all-tournament awards, including the Most Valuable Player, shortstop Amber Flores.

LSU (3-2) heads home to open its new $14 million Tiger Park.

Hawaii has the tougher road, mentally and physically. The Wahine are in for a difficult week of practice before leaving for a two-week, 10-game stay on the mainland.

The big question for Hawaii will be pitching. Senior ace Courtney Baughman didn't tell Wahine coach Bob Coolen her arm was sore until after the 20-minute postgame talk.

What hurt more was the way Hawaii lost, with a four-run lead and three outs away from knocking off the Tigers. LSU used four hits, two costly errors and two questionable calls to tie it in the bottom of the seventh.

“;Courtney had them and then we made some bad decisions in the seventh,”; Coolen said. “;We always learn a lot about ourselves in this first tournament and, unfortunately, we learned a lot.

“;We found we have some glaring challenges to overcome and that our upperclassmen have to step it up. We weren't physically prepared for five games in three days, not even after all the working out we've done. We're not making do with what we have and it's not going to get easier.”;

Hawaii next faces No. 9 Northwestern on Friday at the Eller Media Stadium Classic in Las Vegas.

The one bright spot for the Wahine was the play of senior third baseman Clare Warwick, named to the all-tournament team. Warwick's run-scoring double in the fifth gave the Wahine their first lead at 2-1.

“;There can't be a better third baseman in the country,”; LSU coach Yvette Girouard. “;She put on a show, was very impressive.”;

Warwick made three key defensive plays that prevented the Tigers from winning it in the seventh, including a long throw to first to end the inning that kept LSU's Ashley Applegate from scoring from third.

With one out in the bottom of the ninth, the Tigers loaded the bases on an intentional walk to Kirsten Shortridge. Four pitches later, the walk to Applegate forced Ashley Langoni in with the winning run.